Keeping Track of Your Manuscripts
We calendar our doctors’ appointments, our children’s ball games, social engagements, and vacations because, if we didn’t, we might miss one. It makes sense that we need help with our busy lives. As an author, though, you have the added stress of keeping track of those pesky manuscripts you’ve sent out, especially if you’re a prolific writer.
Have you ever been waiting to hear back from a publisher only to realize you had never sent it to that publisher? Maybe you thought you had or you had intended to. Regardless, you’ve been waiting three months, and that’s time wasted.
What if you write articles, short stories, and books? What about the contests you’ve entered? How do you keep track of those? How do you remember if you’ve sent out a query letter, a query with synopsis, a partial manuscript, or a full manuscript?
How can you be expected to remember the approximate turnaround time? Do you know when it’s okay to follow-up with an editor or agent? You would if you keep track of all of your submissions.
Some authors choose to use a spreadsheet or just a regular document to keep track, but a lot of authors are now turning to the more helpful manuscript trackers. I’ve included a few links below:
http://quickbrownfox.org/sw/tracker/ (for Mac users only)
http://www.spacejock.com/Sonar3.html (free program)
http://www.freedownloadmanager.org/downloads/manuscript_software/ (Publisher Tracker 1.5—freeware)
(This list does not constitute an endorsement of any of these products.)
Of course, if you do use tracking software, you do have to be constantly vigilant with backing-up your information.
If you want to go old-school and keep a hard copy of your submissions, you can’t go wrong reading this article: http://www.ehow.com/how_5020644_keep-track-written-articles-websites.html. Though it’s geared toward articles, it can easily be applied to manuscripts.
Whichever way you choose to go, make sure you have a system that works for you, especially once you have three or more articles or manuscripts circulating. With our busy lives, it’s so easy to forget, and your writing is your future paycheck. Don’t forget to take it to the bank!